WYOMING SHED HUNTING CLOSURES – Shed hunting on government-owned land is prohibited from January 1 to April 30. These regulations, enacted in 2009, seeks to protect the well-being of big game animals during the winter months. On top of severe winter weather, many male big game species are recovering from the rut. Male deer and elk, for instance, commonly become malnourished as the rut comes to a close, leaving them weaker than before the rut started. This is of particular concern to older, more mature animals, as they simply may not have enough energy and nourishment to survive a harsh winter.
Shed hunting means to search for or possess antler or horn sheds, or to attempt to search for or possess antler or horn sheds. Doing so during closed seasons can carry similar penalties to poaching.
The concern is that if antler hunting was allowed during this time of year, it may overly disturb wildlife. This in turn, may push the animals into areas less known to them. Potentially decreasing the amount of food and other resources available to them. So, with the ban on antler hunting during the winter months, the goal is to enhance the probability that these animals will survive the winter.
According to Scott Edberg, WGFD deputy chief of wildlife, “shed antler enthusiasts can help wildlife tremendously by obeying the shed antler and horn hunting regulations and other winter range closures statewide. All wildlife enthusiasts statewide can help wildlife by giving them space over the winter and early spring.”
The WGFD encourages those who become aware of any shed hunting violations to contact the STOP Poaching Hotline at 1-877-943-3847. Violations may also be reported online.
What are your thoughts on the ban of shed hunting during the winter months? Does it assist the protection of big game from undue amounts of stress?